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Auto Racing: Dave Weltmeyer was the first driver to take a stock car around the track at Chicagoland Speedway

Dave Weltmeyer is team manager for Stange Racing which campaigned car driven by Buster Graham ARCA race ChicagolSpeedway. | Tony

Dave Weltmeyer is the team manager for Stange Racing, which campaigned a car driven by Buster Graham in the ARCA race at Chicagoland Speedway. | Tony Baranek/Sun-Times Media

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Updated: September 9, 2014 6:20AM



Flipping through the notebook ...

Here’s a trivia question: Who was the first driver to wheel a stock car around Chicagoland Speedway?

If you said “The Dyer Flyer,” Dave Weltmeyer, you would be correct.

Weltmeyer was driving for the Roulo Brothers Racing team in 2001 when they were brought on by NASCAR to test a stock car on the speedway before the first race was to be run. Jimmy Vasser was brought in to test an Indy car.

“They had three layers of asphalt they were using,” Weltmeyer said. “They had two down, but before they put the third one down they wanted a car to go around and see if there were bumps or if it was smooth.

“So I ran around and there was a bump in three, actually. They smoothed it out before they put the final layer on. They did the same thing at Kansas, and we tested there.”

Weltmeyer, the team manager for Stange Racing of Forest Park, was back at Chicagoland during the recent Nationwide-ARCA weekend, working in the garage on a car driven in the ARCA race by Buster Graham.

Weltmeyer is hoping his association with Stange Racing opens a door for his son, D.J., to get an ARCA ride and drive competitively at the 1.5 mile-track.

It would be the first time D.J. one-ups his legendary dad, who won late-model championships at Grundy County Speedway, Illiana Speedway and Raceway Park and traveling series races across the country, but never has taken a green or checkered flag at the big track in Joliet.

“I’ve tire tested here for Hoosier, and did a bunch of stuff here, but never raced in a race here,” Dave Weltmeyer said. “If something had come up I’d have been glad to race. It just never came my way. But I have something for the archives, anyway.”

Like father, like ...

Another son who is following in his father’s late-model footsteps on the local stock car scene is David Einhaus. The 25-year-old from Seneca has captured one heat race this season in his No. 3J and is chasing a spot in the top 10 in late-model points at Grundy.

His dad, Joe Einhaus Jr., won the sportsman title at Grundy in 1984, the Mid-American crown in 1999 and the late-model championship in 2003.

That’s quite an act to follow.

“It’s really great,” David Einhaus said. “I have a coach who has been there and done it all. Everything I do he can tell me what I’m doing wrong.

“I trust every word that comes out his mouth. He’s gone to the top, and I have that guy helping me out now.”

David Einhaus drove his first street stock in 2005 and won a heat on his fifth night behind the wheel. He won his first street stock feature in 2009.

“That night, the caution came out with one lap to go and I had Chad Bayuk and Chris Sanda on my back bumper,” Einhaus said with a smile. “Talk about sweating bullets.”

After one season on the ASA sportsman series tour in 2011, Einhaus became partners with his dad on a late-model car. The results haven’t been quite as spectacular as his dad’s, but the younger Einhaus said he isn’t feeling any “Can you top this” kind of pressure.

“It makes me feel like I have a goal,” Einhaus said. “I look at all of those trophies and all of those plaques he won, and I want to be looking at all of mine like that when I’m his age. And with his help I think I can get there.”

Toasting Turtle

Chicago racing icon Tommy “Turtle” Weckler will be honored at a gathering starting at noon Aug. 17 at Tinley Park Bowl.

Weckler, a former car owner, was for more than three decades the Hoosier Tire dealer at Raceway Park, Grundy County Speedway and Illiana Speedway. He retired after the 2010 season.

Weckler has had some tough times health-wise, but in 2014 has been able to make several visits to the speedways. Proceeds from the gathering will be used to help defray his health care costs.

There is a $10 cover for food. Games (bean bags, volleyball, horseshoes, bowling) and silent auctions, along with the televised NASCAR race from Michigan, are also on the schedule. For more information, contact John Hudson at (708) 415-3951.



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